Trends in ... safety tools and lighting
Remain ‘safety obsessed’
The safety tool and lighting industries encompass a wide range of equipment. Nevertheless, these products, including tool lanyards, electrical volt detectors and LED floodlights, have one thing in common: keeping workers safe. Here, safety insiders discuss what’s new in these fields and how workers can stay safe on the job.
Phil Reed, senior product manager for New Britain, CT-based PROTO Industrial Tools, spoke of torque wrench technology and the hazards of inaccurate fastener tightening on the jobsite. “With too little tension in a connection, it can come loose,” Reed said. “With too much, the assembly could be damaged, the fastener can strip out, the bolt can shear off or fasteners can prematurely fail.”
To help prevent this, Reed noted, some torque wrenches now come designed with indicator lights and audible warnings to “help the user know when a fastener reaches the correct torque value for the application.”
Regarding lighting advancements, Dawn Dalldorf-Jackson, director of sales – industrial division for Eagleville, PA-based Streamlight Inc., said a new trend is lights that include a 18650 USB lithium ion battery with an integrated micro USB charging port. “These new rechargeable system models are an economical alternative to using disposable batteries, which the lights also are designed to accept to ensure users have power in any situation,” Dalldorf-Jackson said.
She pointed to another trend: flashlights that combine both spot and flood beams. “This technology is now also being incorporated into handheld spotlights, so the light can be used for virtually every long-range and close-up lighting need,” she said.
“From the field worker’s perspective, ensuring the proper torque can be a hassle,” Reed said, “as torque wrenches must be calibrated and values must be set before tightening a fastener.” Additionally, the wrench must be used correctly so as not to overtorque. To help prevent this, Reed recommends worker training and “establishing usage guidelines for correct operation and a schedule for wrench calibration, especially if used for critical parts like suspension and internal engine fasteners.”
One critical factor that leads to flashlight misuse is when managers fail to take the time to understand the equipment, Dalldorf-Jackson said. “Managers who take the time to understand the newest technologies and features of the products are better equipped to train personnel on these specifics and help maintain a safe working environment,” she said.
To ensure safe lighting, it’s important that workers know which kind of lighting carries the proper approval ratings for the environment in which it will be used, Dalldorf-Jackson said. “In the U.S., some lights now have safety rating approval based on the requirements of the ANSI/UL 783 standard – the specific standard for flashlights used in hazardous locations – or ANSI/UL 913, the intrinsically safe standard for general electronic equipment,” she said.
Dalldorf-Jackson noted that although either of these standards can direct certification to Division 1 level, “workers must understand the importance of class, group and temperature code requirements when selecting the correct flashlight for specific applications.”
Regarding tool safety, Reed said high-quality materials and precision manufacturing are essential. Additionally, “remaining safety obsessed is important for everyone on the jobsite.” He recommends that employees regularly attend safety seminars and demonstrations to stay up to date on the latest safety tools and trends.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
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